Sia and muse Maddie Ziegler have caused a bit of outrage with the singer's film Music, angering the autism community and offending fans with what is presented on the screen. According to USA Today, criticisms began to mount over Sia casting Ziegler as a young autistic woman despite being neurotypical in reality.
According to USA Today, Color of Autism Foundation founder Camille Proctor slammed the film for what she saw on screen. "I don't even know where to start," Proctor said to the outlet. "I don't like the portrayal of the young autistic woman. I feel like (Ziegler) was doing parody." Proctor started the organization in 2009 after her son was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum.
The next thing I want the general public to see is this clip from the opening scene.
CW: strobing lights, overwhelming visuals, caricature of autistic mannerisms pic.twitter.com/p8dzP66HFC— The Autisticats (@autisticats) February 12, 2021
The film also shows Ziegler's character being restrained to calm her, which has been condemned by the autism community around the film's release. "The autistic community has been fighting for decades to end the use of restraints that traumatize and kill," Autistic Self Advocacy Network director Zoe Gross told USA Today in a statement. "Had the filmmakers chosen to meaningfully involve autistic people from the beginning, we could have told them how catastrophically irresponsible it is to encourage viewers to use the kind of deadly restraints that killed Max Benson, Eric Parsa, and many other members of our community."
Other criticism lobbed against the film highlights what many believe to be "blackface" in the film, compounding the controversy surrounding the Golden Globe-nominated film. "I have to admit im taking a lot of pleasure in watching reviewers absolutely destroy Sia's garbage Blackface ableist monstrosity Music," one user wrote on Twitter. "I need to see more non-disabled, non-neurodivergent people being angry about Sia's film Music getting nominated for a f—ing Golden Globe," another added.
So they also put @maddieziegler in blackface.
Maybe NOW the performing arts community will give this film the outrage it deserves and stop harping on me for “overreacting.”
Because disability appropriation apparently wasn’t offensive enough. pic.twitter.com/LbqiEpAly1— Ashley Wool (@ashley_wool) February 13, 2021
According to USA Today, Sia has apologized for the film and the offending scenes that have been making the rounds on social media. She said these scenes will be removed from the film printings going forward, laying some blame at the feet of listening to "the wrong people." The singer also deleted her social media. The film has been nominated for two Golden Globes, one for best motion picture, musical or comedy and best actress in a musical or comedy for actress Kate Hudson.
In response to the criticism within the autism community, the film will carry a disclaimer about the use of restraints. "MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people," the statement in the film reads. "There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help (with) meltdown safety."